STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Lamar Peters scored 27 points, Reggie Perry added 15 and No. 22 Mississippi State pulled away in the second half to beat McNeese State 90-77 on Tuesday night.
Mississippi State (7-1) needed a 19-0 run early in the second half to finally take control of a game that was much more competitive than anticipated. Peters shot 9 of 16 from the field, including 8 for 13 from 3-point range.
McNeese State (2-6) had a 42-39 halftime lead and briefly stretched its advantage to four points in the opening minutes of the second half.
But the Cowboys went cold about the time the Bulldogs got rolling and the game flipped in a hurry. McNeese State coach Heath Schroyer was called for a technical foul in the middle of the run, which didn't help the Cowboys.
When Mississippi State's flurry was finished, McNeese State's 50-46 lead had become a 65-50 deficit in less than six minutes.
The game was tight throughout the first half, with neither team leading by more than seven points. Mississippi State had a small advantage through most of the opening minutes before McNeese State went on a 15-7 run to take a three-point halftime lead.
The Cowboys shot nearly 66 percent from the field before halftime and outscored the Bulldogs 28-8 in the paint. Malik Hines led McNeese State with 14 points in the first half and finished with 24 on 9-of-14 shooting from the field.
McNeese State: The Cowboys put a scare into Mississippi State. The most impressive part of the first-half performance was how McNeese State bullied a bigger Mississippi State team in the paint. The competitive game should give the Cowboys some confidence.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs struggled defensively throughout most of the game and coach Ben Howland was obviously frustrated with his team. The good news for Mississippi State is Peters continues to play well. When he's a 3-point threat the Bulldogs are difficult to handle offensively.
McNeese State returns home to play North Carolina Central on Dec. 13.
Mississippi State faces Clemson in New Jersey on Saturday.